Two Borders

A re-imagination of the San Ysidro Border that facilitates free passage.



The inspiration for this work was an image of the San Ysidro Border published in The Desert Sun, depicting the end of the wall. The large gaps in the border wall are symbolic of the larger political and economic structure of the “border”. The end of a wall suggests a space for hope and for refugees to pass through for better futures or to reunite with loved ones.

I was inspired to re-imagine this image of the border as a more inclusive one that facilitates travel, trade, and open crossing for those in need. I re-imagined the wall as an extension of the transit system that connects San Diego. This transit system extends to the border but does not cross it. Imagine a border in which passage was permitted freely and families that have been separated by the border crises were able to connect and talk with one another face to face, to spend time with one another, rather than only being able to communicate through phone systems to non-profit agencies.


This artwork was created in two parts. Firstly, the image of the border published in the Desert Sun was realized on the paper using watercolors. Land and sky blend seamlessly to inspire an image of continuity across the land, despite the political border that is imposed. Greenery brings an element of brightness, light, and hope to the image.


The same background, the desert surrounding the border wall and compound in San Ysidro, was then re-created on a second piece of paper. This was to present the same image so the viewer would be able to re-imagine the border wall as it is, to a transit system instead. The colors are brighter and more vivid in this image, and the train seems to be speeding forward, suggesting growth, progress, change and hope.

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